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When & How to Use Hand Sanitizer?
Cleaning hands at key times with soap and water or hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol is one of the most important steps to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others.
CDC recommends washing hands with soap and water whenever possible. But if soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
Remember that alcohol-based sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of microbes, but sanitizers do not eliminate all types of germs. Hand sanitizers might not remove harmful chemicals, like pesticides and heavy metals, from hands. Swallowing alcohol-based sanitizers can cause alcohol poisoning.
Before and after visiting a friend or loved one in a hospital or nursing home
If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol, and wash with soap and water as soon as you can.
DO NOT use sanitizer if your hands are visibly dirty or greasy—for example, after gardening, playing outdoors, fishing, or camping.
After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing, you should clean your hands by immediately washing your hands with soap or using alcohol-based hand sanitizer to avoid spreading germs.
- Before, during, and after preparing food
- Before eating food
- Before and after caring for someone who is sick with vomiting or diarrhea
- Before and after treating a cut or wound
- After using the toilet
- After changing diapers, or cleaning up a child who has used the bathroom
- After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
- After handling pet food or pet treats
- After touching garbage
- If your hands are visibly dirty or greasy
Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Supervise young children when they use hand sanitizer to prevent swallowing alcohol, especially in schools and childcare facilities.
Put enough sanitizer on your hands to cover all surfaces.
Rub your hands together until they feel dry (this should take around 20 seconds).
Do NOT rinse or wipe off the hand sanitizer before it’s dry; it may not work well against germs.
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